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What To Wear

Dress For Your 50s

Luckily, after decades of rules for dressing ‘appropriately’ for your age, society has finally loosened its grip on these traditional conservative views. Long gone are the days of having to drop your hem length or raise your neckline as you gain in maturity.

These days, if you feel comfortable in your clothes, you’re free to literally wear whatever you like. Denim is no longer the fabric of youth, no matter what your age, and a pair of well-fitting jeans are a staple in any capsule wardrobe, whether you’re under 30 or over 60!

Likewise, don’t shy away from colour and pattern. If you’re partial to a bright colour block design, or wild for animal prints, being over 50 shouldn’t stop you. It’s all about balance in your 50s, selecting pieces that make a reliable capsule wardrobe, then adding occasional on-trend styles to liven up your closet and give you that confident spring in your step as you go about your day.

Read on to get inspiration on dressing to impress in your 50s, and beyond, with our pics of the best runway-inspired styles.

Classic Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule closet is important at any age, but particularly in your 50s it’s vital to make a few long-term investments with reliable, wearable pieces that you can go back to time and time again. Think about including a few tailored items such as a classic collared shirt or blouse, a neutral-toned blazer, a pair of black fitted or tapered trousers, a couple of soft knits and some good quality t-shirts.

Then try adding two or three versatile dresses or skirts. Shirt styles or wrap dresses are great options, able to be worn casually but can be easily elevated for an evening style, swapping flat pumps for chic heels and a statement necklace. Try choosing contrasting hem and necklines to keep your look refreshed and have a variety of sleeve lengths to work for all seasons and dress codes.

Make sure you have an elegant pair of neutral heels, a pair of knee-length or ankle boots, some chic closed-toe flats and a pair of fresh white trainers.

Don't Forget Your Denim

Completing your capsule wardrobe with some great-fitting jeans are an absolute must at any age. If you want to show off curves then a pair with a skinny silhouette can be super flattering, or for those who want to give off a more streamlined shape, opt for a classic bootcut style.

Dark denim is a good option for an over 50s wardrobe, giving a more sophisticated take on a denim look, rather than a light or distressed denim style that can appear overly casual or a little scruffy.

Think about other denim clothing styles too. An oversized denim shirt is a great way to layer up as an alternative to a cardigan. Pair one with fitted trousers, flats and an elegant knit top, for a look that’s both classic and youthful.

A denim skirt can also be a great addition to a capsule closet. Short denim skirts do have an overly young feel, but don’t forget that longer-hemmed styles, such a straight-cut midi length or a maxi with a stylish front split can be both on-trend and sophisticated. Team with a printed tucked-in tee or fitted blouse, for great way to adopt a cutting-edge casual style that can be worn on repeat during any season.

Tricks of the Trade

It’s true that as we age, we need to allow for changes that occur in our body’s shape. Knowing how to elegantly showcase the parts of our body we feel proud of is an important skill. Likewise, it’s good to have some tricks up your sleeve to smooth and shape your figure so you can show off your most flattering silhouette.

A semi-sheer sleeve is a great alternative to a sleeveless style, offering the feel of showing some skin while still covering up. Try this look on a party dress, summer dress or jumpsuit. In the same way, a layered hem skirt with a semi-sheer overlay can give the illusion of a shorter skirt, while keeping a chic longline silhouette.

Enjoy an open neckline, such as a deep v-neck, scooped round neck or even a Bardot style, but choose a style with added frills, tie details or embellishments to the neckline. This will give a focal point your look, creating a balance as your ‘reveal’ some skin and then ‘build’ with added texture and decoration.

Nip and Tuck

Whatever your taste in clothing styles, from a relaxed-fit Boho look to a more tailored, classic silhouette, in your 50s and beyond, creating shape and definition to your figure can really elevate your overall appearance.

When choosing a dress, look out for fit & flare styles that cinch in the waist, creating an illusion of an enhanced hourglass shape. A tailored shirt dress can give a feel of structure to a silhouette with the help of button-front details, classic collars and self-tie waists.

Try a longline tunic top with a belt around your waist and look out for peplum tops that carve out a perfect waist on almost any body shape.

Patterns and Prints

When it comes to prints, reaching 50 and beyond is a very defining time. No other age group can carry off a classic stripe or polka dot print quite like you can in your 50s. Look out for sophisticated Breton styles or a standout chevron print.

When opting for florals, try going for bold blooms with a modern feel. Avoid vintage floral prints which can be aging. Ditsy prints can also be a great option, giving a carefree relaxed look to your style.

Balance your overall look by picking one print and teaming it with something more neutral. Clashing prints can be fun, but this fashion statement can look a little brash and runs the risk of look as though you’re trying a bit to hard to look youthful. Sometimes this can have the opposite effect and make your overall look a little ridiculous.

Create your own colour block style by pairing several plain garments together in solid colours. Try tucking a cream blouse into a navy pencil skirt and layering your look with a fuchsia cardigan or blazer. Plain clothes in bold colours can be a vibrant way to elevate your look, and you’ll be able to mix and match the same styles in different combinations for many years.

Dos and don'ts for nailing your style at 50 

Do take time to create a reliable capsule wardrobe. Keep a close eye on it, making sure you still regularly wear all of the items in it and replace anything that no longer fits or doesn’t work with the rest of your closet.

Don’t waste time and money on excess amounts of ‘fast fashion’ clothing. As tempting as this is, it’s best to invest in higher quality garments that will have a longer lifespan in your closet and will help to elevate your look with a more expensive feel to it.

Do adapt with your body as you age. It’s worth taking risks with trying new clothing shapes as your body changes through the years. While you might have never considered anything except a short hem in your 20s and 30s, now you may want to see how a sophisticated midi or maxi style might look. You may be surprised to find a new love for your updated silhouette!


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